Spring has sprung, the days are getting longer, so is your training and intensity as you get ready for the upcoming season. If you go at high intensity or long durations, you run the risk of becoming sick if your nutrition is not in line with your activities. Do you have what you need in your nutrition tool box to keep you healthy for the whole season? And make it a more productive season?
One thing to consider when looking at nutrition and athletic training: you are what you eat. If you eat like crap, your body will probably train and race like crap. Although there are always exceptions to this rule, the cleaner you eat, the better the body will work. Think of yourself as a car or a computer. Over time, if you use poor quality fuel for your car, it will start to deteriorate after extensive use. If you were a computer and let the viruses gradually creep in, the computer, as our body does, will figure out a way to work with the virus in the system. Over time though, more viruses accumulate and you wake up one day and gosh darn it, this computer is so slow. Well, that is how you are with nutrition, too. One day you wake up and you feel sick or you are just moving slow. Yes, some is from training build up, but the rest is the gradual build up of toxins in the body which now you have to work around. The body spends more time trying to detoxify the junk and that just makes you tired.
Ok, so you feel sluggish, what do you do? For starters, begin eating a cleaner diet. Cleaner being less processed, and more real food. Real fruits, Real vegetables (not just carrots and celery – there are way more out there!), Real proteins, and Real grains (not just wheat, potatoes and rice).
Did you know that for general health, women should eat 5 servings of vegetables per day? And men should eat 7 servings? A serving is a ½ cup, so that should not be a stretch for most. Then add the stress of training, and you need that many more servings of vegetables per day just to help counteract the free radicals you produce. You need the antioxidants, beta carotenes, phytonutrients and the minerals, found in vegetables. If you are not getting your Minimum daily dose of vegetables, you may want to start there and introduce one more serving per day until you get to your 5 or 7. I have had clients recover faster from their workouts due to the increase of vegetables. Who needs pills when you can eat it? You may want to vary your vegetables too so you don’t get bored. Try asparagus, green beans, sugar snap peas (they go great with hummus), eggplant, squash, broccoli and kale to name a few. Try one new vegetable per week. You might find a new favorite.
And don’t forget about the fruits! They have a lot of nutrients and antioxidants, too – the more colors you choose, the better the spread of nutrients. Women should get at least 1 per day, up to 2 for most. And men should have at least 2 per day, up to 4 depending on training amounts. Don’t just do apples, bananas and oranges. Try a kiwi (more Vitamin C than an orange), mango, papaya, or honeydew melon.
One last thing to remember when trying to eat better and keep up your training and stay healthy. Don’t skip meals. You need to eat every 3-4 hours to keep the blood sugar balanced and minimize that stress on the body. You need to eat a good meal with high quality proteins, vegetables, a high quality starch for recovery within 1 hour of finishing your workout sessions. This will enable the body to recover quicker so you can train at a higher level more consistently.
Follow these simple suggestions and you may find yourself training at a higher level than you knew was possible, just by changing a few things with your nutrition.
Joanna K Chodorowska, BA, NC, TPTH, METS –HMP is a holistic sports nutrition coach, energy worker and athlete. She identifies what is causing your symptoms of ill health and uses real food nutrition, The Path To Heal energy work, Nutrition Response Testing and essential oils to bring the body back into balance and into vibrant health. Joanna helps fix the issues for good. Real food to fuel your active life….Nutrition for body, mind, spirit and sport! For more information, please visit www.nutrition-in-motion.net.